Hundreds of Catholic faithful Monday gathered at Gikondi Catholic Church in Mukurwe-ini Sub County, Nyeri to bid farewell to renowned Emma Wangechi Kariuki, (Wagachomba) a credible witness to Saint- to- be, Blessed Sister Irene Stefani.
The late Wangeci, 100, passed on October 18, 2020 at St John Paul II Huruma hospital in Nanyuki, Laikipia County where she was undergoing treatment. She was later laid to rest at her home in Kiamurathe village, Kiirungi sub-location.
The Catholic top leadership describe Wagachomba as a credible witness of beautified Sister Irene ‘Nyaatha’ as she closely interacted with her and was indeed taught catechism by the late Italian nun.
A somber mood engulfed our Lady of Providence Gikondi Catholic Church as members of the local Catholic Women Association (CMA) carried the casket bearing her remains into the church.
Retired Catholic Archbishop Peter Kairo conducted the service assisted by a host of Catholic priests.
Bishop Kairo described the late Wagachomba as a peaceful person who has left a rich legacy of how people can trust in God, how to pray and the virtue of love.
The Bishop asked the family, society and Kenyans to emulate the virtues exhibited by the late Wagachomba to ensure a peaceful and united country.
Kairo said in her life, the late Wangeci recited prayers in Latin and was a credible witness of Blessed Irene Stefani.
Kairo at the same time reminded the faithful that Covid-19 is real and should strictly adhere to the Ministry of Health protocols to curb its spread.
He urged them to intensify prayers to beseech God to provide scientists with a vaccine.
Speakers described the late Wagachomba as a peaceful woman who had no quarrels with neighbours and a great pillar that solidified her family.
They said she participated in development projects outside and inside Gikondi location to the betterment of the country.
The centenarian, who also fought for the country’s independence, had five daughters but two are deceased.
Recently, Father Peter Githinji of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nyeri termed the centenarian’s death as “shocking news to the postulation department of the church” but added that it would not affect the canonization process of Sister Irene Nyaatha.
Father Githinji said it would have been our wish for Emma (Wangechi) to witness this
milestone of our faith when Sister (Irene) Nyaatha is finally made a saint”.
Fr. Githinji, who is a member of the postulation team of the Catholic Church in Kenya and Rome working on the canonization process of Blessed Sister Irene ‘Nyaatha’ Stefani, added that the centenarian had given all the necessary information on the nun’s life needed for her final step to sainthood.
“Her death cannot slow down the ongoing canonical process. We are not gathering witness information since they have given us a lot, we are now waiting for divine intervention through a miracle,” the priest added.
“She was one of the beneficiaries who were taught catechism by Blessed Sister Irene Nyaatha and has been instrumental in assisting the postulation department of the Catholic Church in Kenya and Rome (Italy) as a living witness for the process of beatification and eventual canonization,” Fr. Githinji said.
He noted with sadness that the church was losing the main key witnesses who met Sister Nyaatha personally terming it as “an inevitable biological process due to old age since most of them are 100 years and over”.
According to the villagers, only one woman who interacted with the Blessed Irene is remaining as the rest have passed on.
By Mwangi Gaitha